Anne Ellegood

Artforum International, December 2009 | Go to article overview

Anne Ellegood


ANNE ELLEGOOD IS SENIOR CURATOR AT THE HAMMER MUSEUM IN LOS ANGELES. HER FIRST SHOW THERE, OF THE ARTIST CLAUDE COLLINS-STRACENSKY, CLOSED IN LATE OCTOBER. UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS WILL INCLUDE PROJECTS BY KEREN CYTTER, DIANA AL-HADID, MARK FLORES, AND TOM MARIONI.

1 "Ree Morton: At the Still Point of the Turning World" (Drawing Center, New York) This large gathering of Morton's drawings (curated by Joao Ribas) is a revelation. In her short career, the artist gracefully moved from abstract repeated systems, through mapping her children's games, to joyful combinations of botanical drawings and wordplay from the mid-1970s, just before her untimely death. But in the intimate space of the Drawing Center, the real stars were works that hovered between two dimensions and three: the relatively obscure Wood Drawings from 1971, small constructions that foreshadowed more substantial sculptures to come. A tantalizing appetizer for the upcoming retrospective organized by Helen Molesworth for the Harvard University Art Museums.

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2 "The Quick and the Dead" (Walker Art Center, Minneapolis) Examinations of the legacy of Conceptual art often privilege idea over object, but curator Peter Eleey's absorbing insights resulted in an exhibition filled with material richness. Such heavy hitters as Robert Barry, Douglas Huebler, and Adrian Piper were presented alongside younger artists like Trisha Donnelly, Mark Manders, and Susan Philipsz (with some works even straying beyond the galleries). The installation elicited an unexpected range of emotions--curiosity, wonder, and desire--creating a genuinely layered experience, more romantic than cerebral.

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3 Yvonne Rainer, RoS Indexical and Spiraling Down (REDCAT, Los Angeles) During the West Coast premiere of these two extraordinary pieces by Rainer, one of the four female dancers had to fly home unexpectedly, so Rainer, now in her mid-seventies, filled in: a rare treat. RoS Indexical (commissioned by Performa 07) was inspired by the 1913 Stravinsky-Nijinsky ballet, The Rite of Spring, and Rainer had a ball reinterpreting the chaos of the work's original, extremely controversial reception. She devilishly highlighted her dancers' attempts to connect with the discordant music and their playful struggles with aggressive movements. Delightful and riotous--yet offering a serious consideration of the radicality of the avant-garde--the works suggest that Rainer has once more hit a remarkable stride.

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4 Llyn Foulkes (Hammer Museum, Los Angeles) Now in his seventies, the long-underexhibited, LA-based Foulkes has been skewering the facade of American life in his art and music since the 1960s. His enormous legacy was brought back into the limelight by curator Ali Subotnick's fantastic "Nine Lives" exhibition at the Hammer. (Full disclosure: I joined the museum when this show was on view, but would have picked it regardless!) The artist's alarming portraits of bloody heads are visceral and nightmarish, taking on personal, political, and religious demons via surreal pastiche. Disney has likewise been a target of the artist's work for many years, as in the monumental Lost Frontier, 1997-2005, which stages Mickey Mouse as a pioneer woman brandishing a rifle--only to be shot--dead by the artist in his painting Deliverance, 2004-2007.

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5 California Conceptualism; "Allen Ruppersberg: You and Me or the Art" (Santa Monica Museum of Art) and "William Leavitt, Allen Ruppersberg, Ger van Elk" (Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles) Two recent shows highlighted the distinctive West Coast fonts of Conceptual art and their continuing contribution to the scene here: the small but tightly curated Ruppersberg exhibition in Santa Monica, organized by Constance Lewallen, and a show at Margo Leavin spotlighting works by Ruppersberg, Leavitt, and van Elk, the Dutch artist who began spending time in LA in the 1960s.

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